Aviary Attorney unfolds in 19th century France, where an attorney named Jayjay Falcon and his petite assistant Sparrowson defend many anthropomorphic animals in the courtroom. Or as Sparrowson abrasively states, “help people get away with criminal acts”. The duo investigate crime scenes and testimonies to craft a repertoire of evidence to defend their client. And ultimately find the truth behind every illusive crime.
The writing is impeccable in Aviary Attorney. It retains all the wit and courtroom drama of Ace Attorney with the banter of Hatoful Boyfriend. Every joke had near flawless comedic timing and even after the 20th horse pun I was still in stitches. The different acts follow different cases, and can each be played in 2-3 hours easily. Through every character there’s a voice that resonates when reading their dialogue, proving that the written word in visual novels can still resonate even without voice acting.
Aviary Attorney retains the artistic integrity of caricature artist, Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard Grandville. Rather than the colorful hyper-realism of Hatoful Boyfriend, the artstyle in Aviary Attorney is predominantly weathered yellow backdrops with hand drawn character models overlayed. If you’ve ever played Phoenix Wright, the eccentric character models may pop into mind. Aviary Attorney takes inspiration with this. And combined with the anthropomorphic elements, it creates a great composition of colorful characters, even though it’s pastels are black and white.
The music in Aviary Attorney is composed by French 19th century artist Camille Saint-Saëns, and its authenticity really brings the world to life. With every orchestration reflecting the bourgeoisie atmosphere of early France. It’s a very great and smart decision to use pieces of the era instead of attempting to replicate the early art in an OST.
As a Visual novel, Aviary Attorney has very minimal gameplay besides menu navigations and pursuing through text. However, unlike most visual novels. Aviary Attorney takes inspiration from one of the most renown visual novels in gaming history. The GBA and DS classics, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (which surprisingly didn’t feature a feathered protagonist) from Capcom. Aviary Attorney takes the formula of that first game, where after an introduction to the murder case you interview witnesses and examine crime scenes to gather crucial evidence. Following your investigations, it’s off to the courtroom. Where you must use aforementioned evidence to seduce the jury to your side. By combing over witness statements and contradicting affidavits with evidence you will gain the jury’s mindshare, but by wasting their time you lose their enthusiasm with the person you’re defending. Getting over each obstacle and test with minimal dissatisfaction from the jury, will result in the real murderer revealing himself and your client will be saved from the guilty verdict.
A hefty 25 hour game with multiple endings, Aviary Attorney fully justifies it’s 15 dollar price tag. I’m not a big fan of Visual Novels, but Aviary Attorney is a great lampoon of the Ace Attorney formula with its interactivity. This isn’t to say that Aviary Attorney is a bad Visual Novel, the writing is astonishing and comedic. While France has been depicted in Assassin’s Creed, the music and art in Aviary Attorney bring the place and period to life in a way that is significantly pure. The attention to detail the folks at Sketchy Logic have for the time period doubles in the respect they have for the history and time period. Aviary Attorney is a compilation of great writing, art, music, and characters. And one of 2015’s most significant surprises.